There are those times in life that you know are just inevitable. When you have a baby, you know that one day she is going to graduate high school, get married, have a baby. When you’re a kid, one day you’re going to be 21, then 30 and maybe even 70. As a child we would play the “In the year 2000 I’ll be 39” game. I was born in 1961. We’d look out to future dates on the calendar and wonder where we’d be at that time in the far, far distant future, one that seemed it would never really come to pass. I remember reading the book 1984 about a dystopian future. 1984. So far away. Now it’s quickly fading in the rear view mirror.
I didn’t sleep great last night. I woke up early with the song “Cat’s In The Cradle” looping in my head. In a few minutes Kayla will take the car to college with her for the first time marking another step towards her independence and away from me. This weekend while she was at home, she spent a lot of time texting or Snapchatting, but now it’s not just with girlfriends, it’s with her boyfriend- the one trying to take her away from me. I knew this time would come. When she went into her senior year of high school it really hit me. Every day I would wake up and think “At least it’s not today.” The days after she graduated and before she moved out became precious to me. I tried to cherish every moment, even more than I did before. Now I cherish them even more.
Zoe turned 11 in December. We have had a couple of health scares with her and she’s going through a thing now where she is having trouble climbing stairs. My good friend’s dog passed in the night a few months ago. Every morning when I go into the bathroom to get ready for my day, I look over at Zoe. Is she breathing? Are her eyes open? Is she still here? Every day when she does look at me, like she did this morning, I silently say a little prayer of gratitude. One day she won’t be there, but not today. I treat Zoe with even more love, give her an extra treat now and again and I give her lots of praise telling her what a wonderful companion she has been to me because I know we’re getting closer and closer to the day when I won’t be able to do those things anymore.
It’s easy to fall into a rut in life, into a routine. We think “Oh it’s Monday again” as if this Monday is the same as all other Mondays. We have a string of Mondays behind us and we assume we have a string of them ahead of us. Christmas rolls around and we think “Oh, it’s Christmas again”. What we sometimes fail to realize is that each and every day is unique. It’s never just another day. But, sometimes it’s one of those days. Every single Monday has the potential to be one of those days where your life turns on a dime. That Wednesday that Shayna passed I was out for a run, had come back to my desk and was working when Ty screamed the alarm that changed my life. Every day could be that day when your dog doesn’t open her eyes. Every Christmas has the potential to be your last or the last of someone you love. Every day you pass moves you closer to those “inevitable” milestones. And as far as it might seem in the future, as much as you might dread it or look forward to it, as much as you might think it will never really come. One day, is going to be that day, the day your daughter graduates, the day she gets married.
So, today. It’s one of those days. It’s not like Kayla is going off to college for the first time, but it’s a bit different. It’s another reminder that the day when she is totally independent is a lot closer now than it was. I don’t like it, but I am glad I have enjoyed every moment with her that I have been given.